Walmart, one of the biggest retail corporations in the U.S., has filed a patent for an autonomous robot bee, eliciting comparisons to the British futuristic show Black Mirror, which addresses the possibilities and perils of technology.
Robot bees are more formally known as pollination drones, and they are being designed to carry pollen between plants just like regular bees. However, the drones would rely upon technology like sensors and cameras, instead of sensitive antennae, legs and wings.
With appearances in pop-culture staples like The Addams Family and Little Shop of Horrors, Venus flytrap plants often get a bad rap for being creepy, carnivorous creatures that will eat just about anything.
While the creepy and carnivorous part might be true, the eating-anything part is not. As it turns out, Dionaea muscipula, that iconic little plant with the spiky, mouth-shaped leaves, is quite a picky–or savvy—eater.
It’s no secret that America’s bees are in trouble. From colony-collapse disorder to threats from fungicides and neonicotinoid pesticides, the iconic pollinators’ ranks are so diminished that scientists report more than 700 North American bee species are headed toward extinction.
Near the top of the list of challenges facing bees — especially honeybees — is a tiny, tick-like parasite called the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor). And German scientists think they may have accidentally found a way to eradicate it without pesticides or harm to the bees.
If Internet memes teach us anything, it’s that some people can’t function without the glorious nectar of the coffee bean. If you’re among those who rouse only to a steaming cup of Joe, it may be time to consider tea instead: According to a new report, the world's largest coffee-producing regions could shrink by as much as 88 percent by 2050 as a result of climate change.
This impacts more than just your average American’s ability to function; the global export of coffee averages $19 billion dollars annually, according to The Climate Report’s analysis of climate change on coffee production. Coffee production directly sustains 125 million livelihoods, 25 million of whom are small farmers. To put that in perspective, coffee represents 17% of the export earnings of Nicaragua and 33% of Ethiopia.
2017 sees the first bee species to be officially classified as “endangered” in North America. The rusty patched bumblebee has the unfortunate honor of being both the first pollinator and bumblebee species to be given this distinction.
An effort to prevent Zika-infected mosquitoes from taking root in South Carolina has dealt a major blow to the local honey bee population. Bees died in massive numbers after officials in Dorchester County approved the spraying of Naled, a common insecticide that kills mosquitoes on contact, over the countryside.